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NYT changes tune on absentee ballot fraud

Eric Felten explains in a Federalist column that the New York Times has dropped its long-standing concerns about absentee ballots.

To pass a law limiting absentee ballots, as Georgia recently did, is no longer to choose a side in a legitimate debate over how to balance ballot integrity and ease of voting. Instead, to express concern about the risk of election fraud is seen as being engaged in a different sort of fraud — an illegitimate effort to disenfranchise the poor and minorities.

The New York Times has aggressively insisted the last several months that worries over absentee and mail-in ballots, in particular, are dishonest violations of voting rights. Times staff opinion editor Spencer Bokat-Lindell wrote late in October that “[t]he effort to discredit and discourage mail-in voting” was the “culmination of a decades-long disinformation campaign by the Republican Party and others to suppress votes, especially those cast by Black and Latino Americans.”

But what of the Times itself, which for over two decades has warned readers that the most common sort of election fraud involves absentee voting? As recently as September, Times reporters Stephanie Saul and Reid Epstein quoted Richard Hasen, who teaches election law at the University of California, Irvine, saying that “[e]lection fraud in the United States is very rare, but the most common type of such fraud in the United States involves absentee ballots.” …

… What accounts for the change from a dark presentation of the issue to a decidedly rosy one? RealClearInvestigations asked a spokesperson for the New York Times whether the paper’s current enthusiasm for absentee voting meant its staff’s previous criticism and reporting were wrong or misleading. RCI also asked whether the articles had been, even just unintentionally, part of what Times staff editor Bokat-Lindell called “a decades-long disinformation campaign by the Republican Party and others to suppress votes”? She did not respond to those two questions.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...